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Johnette Benkovic Live from France: Notre Dame Fire


Johnette Benkovic (Williams) is the Founder and President of Women of Grace, a Catholic apostolate for women. After experiencing a conversion in her faith in the early 1980s, Johnette set out to help other women to rediscover their Catholic faith by sharing the Gospel through various media outlets. Johnette has become a well-known and successful Author & Speaker.

This April, Johnette was called to join 206 Tours as a “Pilgrim”, and making a pilgrimage to Lourdes, Paris& Lisieux with her husband, Jack. Their Journey began on April 12th and they were in Lourdes when the tragic fire at Notre Dame Cathedral occurred. Just two days after the fire, the group made their way to Paris.


Below, is Johnette’s reflection on the eve of her arrival in Paris.

Jack and I landed in Paris in the early morning today from Lourdes and drove into the city with our tour through 206 Tours. We visited Sacre Coeur and it was a graced experience. This Friday, Good Friday, we were to have visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

I have never been to Notre Dame and like fellow Catholics from all over the world, I could not wait to experience her glory. Our visit will be tragically different now, like so many others who came here to see this magnificent witness to our Catholic Faith. But I know it will be no less poignant. To experience Notre Dame on Good Friday — battered and bruised as she is — will easily remind us of the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus Our Savior, and the salvation He offers to each of us if we choose to accept Him.

Just as the Crown of Thorns was spared from the inferno, so too does the passion, death, and Resurrection of Jesus Christ spare us from the furnace of flames known as Hell.

In the end, Notre Dame is just a structure, albeit a stunning structure and sign in our fractured and broken world. And most likely she will be rebuilt. But, she is limited and can only reside in one city and in one country.

However, Our Lord’s promise of eternal life, breathed from the altar of Notre Dame for hundreds of years, is omnipresent, and can live in each one of us. And though the sorrowful reality of this loss cuts deeply, the miracle of Easter is alive in this earthly devastation, reminding us that all is made new in the Resurrection of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

The Easter Sunday message, as well, as the message of Notre Dames’ horrible fire, is this: “Look forward and have hope!”



SOURCE: Johnette Benkovic Williams | FacebookApril 16, 2019


Our prayers are with Johnette and all the Pilgrims we have in France at the moment, as they experience this historic moment for Catholics all over the world. We thank Johnette for sharing her reflection with us, and thank God for sparing any loss of life – for saving all the relics, including the Crown of thorns – and most importantly, the Blessed Sacrament.